ICC tells Howard to but out - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ICC tells Howard to but out

By Guy Hand 17/05/2004 11:03:55 PM Comments (0)

International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani has told Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his Sri Lankan counterpart to stay out of the Muttiah Muralitharan controversy.

Mr Howard said on Friday he believed Muralitharan was a chucker, prompting Test cricket's leading wicket-taker to consider boycotting his country's upcoming tour of Australia.

And Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said he would sue the ICC over its decision to outlaw the spinner's "doosra" delivery, which recent scientific analysis showed was illegal.

But Mani defended his organisation's handling of Muralitharan's suspect action, saying Mr Howard and Mr Rajapaksa should stay out of it and allow the ICC to deal with the situation.

"The Murali issue has sort of blown out of proportion because of various remarks by various politicians," Mani said from London.

"I've heard various versions of these comments, but obviously it's not helpful when high-profile people make these sort of comments.

"I wish they'd talk to us first rather than making statements in the public arena."

In a statement, Mr Rajapaksa said Muralitharan was "a national asset" and he would do everything in his and the government's power to defend the bowler.

But Mani said he had no concerns over the ICC's banning of Muralitharan's doosra.

"I don't know the basis of how we'd be sued, but all our regulations are fully supported by all our members," said Mani, referring to the fact the Sri Lankan Cricket Board is part of the ICC.

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